It was a season to forget, and a season it’ll never forget.
There were highlights on the Chandler Valley Christian football field.
Another run through the 2A Central Region and into the state semifinals, though they missed the championship game for the first time in four years.
But the lowlight is what sticks at Trojans camp, and it goes well beyond an early playoff exit.
The biggest hurdle, by far, was the death of former player Danny Pasanella last Sept. 21. A loss no victory will compensate for, but a loss that challenged friends and teammates in ways they hadn’t experienced.
“That’s life,” coach Bill Morgan said. “Things change and they have to be adaptable to change and go with the flow. With whatever presents itself they adapt, and that’s life. That’s where football comes in and being a teacher of life lessons. It’s a platform.”
This ideal is stretching itself on the field as well. Captain Stephen Sasso moving from quarterback and defensive line to fullback and a linebacker/safety hybrid. Sophomore Jordan Morgan, the coach’s son, is the team’s new quarterback after playing flanker last season. Lineman David Voss moves from defensive line to linebacker.
Leading rusher Anthony Kereluk transferred to Phoenix Desert Vista. The Trojans are significantly smaller in size up front than the past few seasons, and 2A is deep.
But a record 44 players went to camp this summer, and it should have been 45.
Pasanella was going to be a senior this season, and those left to play on in his wake want to return to the season’s ultimate platform in late November.
Then the Trojans will have something better to remember.
“It’s a new year and new excitement and hope and a team which has to find their own identity,” Morgan said. “We don’t even bring it up. We don’t talk about it. I never do. I don’t compare. It hurts kids when you do that. They’ll have their own trials and things are constantly changing. This is no exception.”